Having trouble getting baby to latch on to your breast? Get advice from mums like you and experts on the best ways to breastfeed your baby.
Although many women find breastfeeding straightforward, there are some who have problems. But don't give up because there are ways of relieving them
Sore, cracked nipples
Your baby's frequent attempts at latching on, especially if she doesn't manage it properly first time at each feed, can make your nipples very sore and sometimes cracked and bleeding. But, uncomfortable as it may be, the best cure is actually to keep on feeding, but making sure your baby is correctly positioned at the breast.
When your milk first comes in, your breasts become very full and engorged. Engorgement can also occur later if you don't alternate breasts when feeding. Feeding your baby relieves the condition. Engorged breasts can flatten out your nipples, making it more difficult for your baby to latch on. If this is the case, express a little milk by hand before you feed her.
A blocked milk duct can sometimes cause a hard, tender red patch to appear on your breast. Make sure your bra is not too tight and feed your baby from the affected breast first, leaning forward slightly as this will help to empty the breast. Putting cold Savoy cabbage leaves from the fridge into your bra to the soothe your breast often helps. Standing in a warm shower and gently stroking a comb down the affected part of your breast may help to ease the blockage. Talk to your midwife, health visitor, GP or breastfeeding counsellor if there is no improvement within a couple of days.
This is usually caused by breastmilk collecting behind a blocked milk duct, although it can also be caused by an infection. Your breast will become hot and tender and you'll develop a high temperature and flu-like symptoms. If you have these symptoms, see your health visitor or midwife as soon as possible so you can start a course of antibiotics.